The first bit of "Fusion" that AMD is releasing today is an in-house designed software utility that was described to us as being able to "turn a mainstream PC into a lean, mean gaming machine."
Essentially, this Fusion Gaming tool is a utility that automates many of the tweaks that hardcore enthusiasts carry out in order to free up system resources for the purpose of maximizing gaming performance. The utility works by temporarily disabling background services and processes, freeing up memory and CPU cycles in an effort to make games run more smoothly.
AMD demonstrated the application to us clicking the gigantic "Fusion" button on a Windows Vista desktop, which immediately shut down usually active applications such as Skype, Google Talk, as well as many other background services. The utility will not, however, override any applications that have a shutdown or save dialog, meaning that clicking the button will still allow Microsoft Word to prompt if you wish to save before closing.
This utility would be of great use to those who use shared computers, whose family members may have installed many unwanted, useless programs that clog up the system. Those with prebuilt machines with preloaded bloatware may also find that the Fusion button does wonders to free up system resources. AMD told us that the software is careful not to disable any crucial services that might make the system unstable, but does carry with it a disclaimer that it may disable security and antivirus software - though the utility setting does allow for custom settings so that the user may fine tune to his or her liking.
Besides just reducing system overhead, the Fusion tool also helps to boost performance by incorporating other tweaking tools, such as Auto-Tune for both CPU and ATI GPU, overclocking with AMD Overdrive. AMD also introduced a "Hard Drive Acceleration" setting, which enables the SATA mode of performance over quiet.
The AMD Phenom X4 9550 Black Edition processor used as part of the demo went from a stock 2.6 GHz to 2.8 GHz, which is a conservative and safe measure for mainstream users. Those wanting to go a bit more hardcore can set more aggressive settings.
The enthusiast user, however, likely won’t find as many advantages in using the tuning utility. The extreme PC gamer will already run a tight ship with tweaked settings and a lean OS free of excess processes.
While not being marketed as such, the tuning tool may also be applied in the other applications when pure speed isn’t the main goal. AMD said that users can set up profiles where the goal is to achieve low power consumption or decreased noise output for applications such as a home theater PC.
Regardless, the AMD Fusion tool makes isolating the full power of the system easier than ever, and is the first demonstration of the chipmaker’s new company direction.
Those with AMD and ATI systems can download a beta version of the utility http://www.amd.com/fusionforgaming/download, found on the new AMD Fusion site. Be sure to share your findings in the comments below! More PlayStation 3 News...